Updated: Jul 20, 2021
Yes, I'm from Texas (5th-generation), and yes I love guns, but that's not what I'm writing to you about today.
The safety mechanism I’m referring to is the process – both conscious and unconscious – you use to decide if a situation feels “safe” to you. You may not realize it, but you’re making decisions every day based on whether something feels safe.
Do you avoid speaking up in meetings even though you have a great idea that can help your team? It doesn’t feel safe.
Do you avoid setting goals that stretch you? It doesn’t feel safe.
Do you put off that difficult conversation with your boss or a colleague? It doesn’t feel safe.
And there is always a story behind your action.
Do you avoid conflict? Maybe that’s because you grew up in a house where trying to resolve conflict was futile. One or both of your parents invalidated your feelings, telling you to go to your room every time you got upset. Over time you told yourself having feelings was “wrong” or made you “bad.” By adulthood you have concluded that conflict of any kind only results in you feeling hurt and ultimately your feelings don’t matter anyway. It doesn’t feel safe.
Furthermore, your fear justifies itself:
I just saved you from embarrassing yourself in that meeting.
Now you don’t have to feel rejected!
Failure sucks, you know that. Now you’re free from worrying about it!
But where is the truth? And what can you do about it?
Your power lies in your awareness. Do you make a conscious decision to stay quiet, not stretch yourself or avoid putting yourself out there because it serves you, or do you make the decision out of reflex to remain “safe"?
Let’s take the safety off for a moment and do some target practice.
Set aside time to think about situations in your life where you have made a determination that it doesn’t feel safe. Write it down, and practice self-compassion as you do this exercise. What are you ultimately afraid of? Where does that fear originate? Then think about what that thought is costing you – how would your life look different if you were able to choose the response that served you best?
Reflecting will help you build awareness, and awareness will help you exercise more control.
If you need support exploring how your thoughts and feelings are holding you back, I invite you to have a conversation with me. I help women just like you learn to manage their minds so they can consciously create the life God made them for.